Book: Simi's Mum's Diary - The Daughter of All Battles
Author: Rupa Gulab
Price: Rs 175
"...I was rude to her in public...I just happened to tell a guest who remarked that Mum looked remarkably slim that mum wore stiff corsets to tuck her tummy in. And that her tum resembles a beach ball without stripes when the corsets are off..Mum told me that she hoped I would have a daughter who is a thousand times worse than me. A thousand times more stubborn. A thousand times more incorrigible. And a thousand times ruder."
I laugh out loud at Simi's mum's recollection of her mother's words but it does make me wonder if karma really does come back to bite in the backside? I shudder. Simi, then, is in for a horrible motherhood.
Set in Mumbai, Simi's Mum's Diary is a painful but delightful account of a mother dealing with a rebellious daughter. Simi is a 21 year old who is smart and talented but also selfish, stubborn, unpredictable and harrowing. She detests the way her mother lives, thinks she is un-cool, has named her helicopter and misses no opportunity to put her down. Even then, a mother is a mother and Simi's mum does everything to make her life better, even if it means sacrificing her own career, conspiring to make her break up with her lousy boyfriends and crushes or almost begging people - at the cost of her self-respect - for a job for Simi.
The book follows no plot as such but is a personal account of Simi's mum's trials and tribulations while her daughter falls in love, goes through a break up, tries to become spiritual and a vegetarian, falls in love again, breaks up again, becomes a graduate, gets a job, falls in love yet again, gets another job, says goodbye to her best friends, falls in love, this time with the guy her mother had been trying to hook her up with and finally, begins to lead an adult life.
A classic case of spare the rod and spoil the child, Simi's Mum's Diary is a nice, light read which gives a fun look into modern parenting. Gulab's quirky style of writing makes the book funny and quite blatantly honest. Parenting is not always what the Johnson Baby Products ads show us! As a daughter, reading Simi's Mum's Diary made me feel guilty about all the times I have been super rude to my mother. How must she have felt!
The book also comments on the jhadoo and cap tactics of a political party, its induction of the youth in their dharnas and the hopelessness of the publishing industry where grammar is no longer a need of the hour. All the main characters are well fleshed out.
Rohit is that loving husband that every woman would need if she had a daughter like Simi and also the bridge between Simi and Simi's mum. A very loving father-daughter relationship plays out throughout the book. One almost falls in love with the dream-of-a-cook Philo who cooks some delicious sounding dishes and passes snide remarks exactly when needed.
Simi's character doesn't change its basic nature but does grow up through the course of the book. One does get alarmed by the way she behaves and it becomes a bit exaggerated in places.
Simi's Mum's Diary shows that family stands by you in ways you would never imagine and is extremely magnanimous about it, even if you fail to recognise it and most of all, it tells one how important it is to be extremely nice to mothers (or even parents) because remember, karma never forgets.